Archive for the ‘September 17’ Category

Feast of Blessed Zygmunt Sajna (September 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Zygmunt Sajna

Image in the Public Domain



Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

Alternative feast day (as one of the 108 Martyrs of World War II) = June 12

Blessed Zygmunt Sajna, born in the village of Zurawlowska (now in Poland) on January 20, 1897, became a priest in the Archdiocese of Warsaw.  He, having attended seminary in Warsaw, received ordination in 1924.  Our saint studied canon law at the Gregorian University, Rome, from 1924 to 1926, with some health-related interruptions.  (Sajna suffered from lung and heart diseases.)  After graduating in 1926 our saint returned to Poland, becoming the chaplain at the Convent of the Immaculate Conception, Szymanow.  Our saint served in several parishes in Warsaw from 1931 to 1938, then as the parish priest in Góra Kalwaria.

The invasion of Poland (September 1939), followed by the German and Soviet partition, caused much otherwise avoidable violence and martyrdom.  Sajna lived in the German zone.  He, arrested in December 1939, spent the rest of his life as a prisoner.  Our saint was initially under house arrest.  He, forbidden to act as a priest, declined to accept an opportunity to escape; he was dedicated to serving his flock.  In April 1940 authorities transferred Sajna to Warsaw.  In prison our saint always kept his rosary and breviary with him.  He also paid Masses and heard confessions.  Our saint, beaten and tortured, his front teeth knocked out, died as a victim of the Palmiry Massacre on September 17, 1940.  He was 43 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Sajna a Venerable and beatified him in 1999.





Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Zygmunt Sajna

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713


Feast of St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (September 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Titular Bishop of Tarsus, and Founder of Recovery for the Poor and the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary


I am convinced that by keeping my heart uncontaminated, living in faith and in fraternal love towards my neighbor, I will not go off the path.  These are my only treasures and are without price.

–St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski


Polish nationalism was a defining feature of the life of St. Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski.  Poland did not exist as a nation-state, so Polish nationalism ran afoul of various governments.

Felinski was a subject of the Russian Empire.  He, born in Voyutin (now Wojutyn, Ukraine) on November 1, 1822, was one of six children of Gerard Felinski and Eva Wendorff, proud Poles.  Gerard died when our saint was 11 years old.  Eva was active in efforts to improve farmers’ economic conditions as well as in the realm of Polish nationalism.  For her trouble she became an involuntary resident of Siberia in 1838.  St. Zygmunt had numerous reasons to distrust the Russian imperial government.

Felinski’s early adulthood was a time of education and nationalist activism.  He studied at the University of Moscow, specializing in mathematics, from 1840 to 1844.  Studies in French literature followed in Paris in 1877.  In the “City of Lights” he gathered with other Poles.  Our saint participated in the failed Polish uprising against the Prussian government at Poznán.  In 1848-1850 Felinski worked as the tutor to the Brozowski family in Munich and Paris.

The priesthood beckoned.  He studied for the priesthood in 1851-1855, first in Zytomierz (now Zhytomyr, Ukraine) then at St. Petersburg.  Our saint, ordained on September 8, 1855, served first in St. Petersburg.  He was the pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church, from 1855 to 1857.  He also founded a charitable organization, Recovery for the Poor, in 1856, then the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary the following year.  Felinski was also Professor of Philosophy at the Ecclesiastical Academy, as well as a spiritual advisor.

Felinski was the Archbishop of Warsaw from 1862 to 1883, politically treacherous times in that city.  When our saint arrived in January 1862, Warsaw was under siege by Russian forces, and all the churches were closed.  He reopened the churches in February 1862.  Felinski also reformed the seminary curriculum, founded an orphanage and parochial schools, and worked to free incarcerated priests.  Agents of the Russian government sought to undermine our saint; they claimed he was a spy.  After Russian forces brutally crushed the January Revolt of 1863, Felinski resigned from the Council of State in protest.  He also wrote to Czar Alexander II, requesting an end to the violence.  On June 14, 1883, Russian authorities deported our saint to Jaroslavl, Siberia.  He lived his vocation as a priest and a bishop as a partner.

Protracted negotiations between the Vatican and the Russian government paid off in 1883.  Felinski was a free man again.  On March 15 Pope Leo XIII assigned our saint to Galicia (in modern-day Turkey), as the Titular Bishop of Tarsus.  Felinski ministered to Polish and Ukrainian exiles, built a church, founded a parochial school, and started a convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary.

Felinski died in Krakow (then in Austria-Hungary; now in Poland) on September 17, 1895.  He was 72 years old.

The Church recognized Felinski’s sanctity.  Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 2001 then beatified him the following year.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized Felinski in 2009.





O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Saint Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski

to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 719


Feast of Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg and Saint Hildegard of Bingen (September 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Hildegard of Bingen

Image in the Public Domain



Roman Catholic Abbess

Her feast transferred from December 22

mentor of


Roman Catholic Abbess, Mystic, Theologian, Poet, Playwright, and Composer

One of my goals in renovating this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, as I keep repeating, is to emphasize relationships and influences.  Therefore, I merge the feasts of St. Hildegard of Bingen (September 17) and her mentor, Blessed Jutta of Disibodenberg (December 22).

Blessed Jutta, born circa 1084 in Spanheim, was a German noblewoman.  Her brother was Meganhard, the Count of Spanheim.  She became a hermitess on November 1, 1106.  Blessed Jutta lived near the Abbey of Saint Disibod, Disibodenberg.  She taught children and became the center of a female community before beginning to serve as the first abbess of the new convent at Disibodenberg in 1116.  One member of that community then convent was St. Hildegard, born in Böckelheim, near Spanheim, in 1098, and also of German nobility.  She, raised and educated at Disibodenberg, succeeded Blessed Jutta as abbess in 1136.  St. Hildegard held that post until 1147.  That year she and eighteen nuns founded a new, independent convent near Bingen.  She served as the abbess there for the rest of her life.

St. Hildegard was a mystic; she had been one since childhood.  From 1141 to 1150 she published accounts of 26 of her visions in Scivas (Know the Ways).  Our saint’s visions were consistent with theological orthodoxy, according to the Archbishop of Mainz, a group of theologians, and Pope Eugenius III.  After 1150 St. Hildegard continued to report and write about her visions.

St. Hildegard was a remarkable person, especially by the standards of her time and place.  In 1152-1162 she made preaching tours in the Rhineland.  She corresponded with monarchs and popes, wrote at least one drama, composed religious texts and music, and wrote treatises on science and medicine.  She was, by the standards of her time and place, unusually scientifically astute.  St. Hildegard, as a theologian, belonged to the school of Creation Spirituality.  The Church has recognized her as a Doctor of the Church, a title it bestows on few saints.  The only other women so honored were St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897).

Despite St. Hildegard’s respected status in the Church during her lifetime, she ran afoul of ecclesiastical authorities toward the end of her life.  She permitted the burial of an excommunicated man in the convent’s cemetery.  Then our saint disobeyed an order to disinter the corpse; the deceased had reconciled with God before he died, she said in her defense.  St. Hildegard’s defiance led to the Archbishop of Mainz placing the convent under an interdict, a penalty she protested.  Eventually the archbishop lifted the interdict.

St. Hildegard died a few months later, on September 17, 1179.

Pope John XXII beatified St. Hildegard in 1326.  She was informally “St. Hildegard” for centuries until Pope Benedict XVI made it official in 2012.









God of all times and seasons:

Give us grace that we, after the example of your servant Hildegard, a student of Jutta,

may both know and make known the joy and jubilation of being part of your creation,

and show forth your glory not only with our lips but in our lives;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 43:1-2, 6-7, 9-12, 27-28

Psalm 104:25-34

Colossians 3:14-17

John 3:16-21

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 589


Saints’ Days and Holy Days for September   Leave a comment


Image Source = Wilder Kaiser

1 (Dionysius Exiguus, Roman Catholic Monk and Reformer of the Calendar)

  • David Pendleton Oakerhater, Cheyenne Warrior, Chief, and Holy Man, and Episcopal Deacon and Missionary in Oklahoma
  • Fiacre, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • François Mauriac, French Roman Catholic Novelist, Christian Humanist, and Social Critic

2 (Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942 and 1943)

  • David Charles, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Dianna Ortiz, U.S. Roman Catholic Nun and Anti-Torture Activist
  • William of Roskilde, English-Danish Roman Catholic Bishop

3 (Jedediah Weiss, U.S. Moravian Craftsman, Merchant, and Musician)

  • Arthur Carl Lichtenberger, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, and Witness for Civil Rights
  • F. Crawford Burkitt, Anglican Scholar, Theologian, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • James Bolan Lawrence, Episcopal Priest and Missionary in Southwestern Georgia, U.S.A.
  • Sundar Singh, Indian Christian Evangelist

4 (Paul Jones, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, and Peace Activist; and his colleague, John Nevin Sayre, Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist)

  • Birinus of Dorchester, Roman Catholic Bishop of Dorchester, and the “Apostle of Wessex”
  • E. F. Schumacher, German-British Economist and Social Critic
  • Gorazd of Prague, Orthodox Bishop of Moravia and Silesia, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in Czechoslovakia, and Martyr, 1942
  • William McKane, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

5 (Carl Johannes Sodergren, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Theologian; and his colleague, Claus August Wendell, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister and Theologian)

  • Athol Hill, Australian Baptist Biblical Scholar and Social Prophet
  • Teresa of Calcutta, Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity
  • William F. Albright and G. Ernest Wright, U.S. Biblical Scholars and Archaeologists
  • William Morton Reynolds, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Episcopal Priest, Educator, and Hymn Translator

6 (Charles Fox, Anglican Missionary in Melanesia)

  • Aaron Robarts Wolfe, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Allen Crite, Artist
  • Joseph Gomer and Mary Gomer, U.S. United Brethren Missionaries in Sierra Leone

7 (Beyers Naudé, South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist)

  • Elie Naud, Huguenot Witness to the Faith
  • Hannah More, Anglican Poet, Playwright, Religious Writer, and Philanthropist
  • Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater, Scottish Presbyterian Translators of Hymns
  • John Duckett and Ralph Corby, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in England, 1644
  • Kassiani the Hymnographer, Byzantine Abbess, Poet, Composer, Hymn Writer, and Defender of Icons

8 (Nikolai Grundtvig, Danish Lutheran Minister, Bishop, Historian, Philosopher, Poet, Educator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer, German Lutheran Attorney and Hymn Writer; and Frances Elizabeth Cox, English Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Shepherd Knapp, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Søren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher and Theologian, and Father of Existentialism
  • Wladyslaw Bladzinski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944

9 (Martyrs of Memphis, Tennessee, 1878)

  • Francis Borgia, “Second Founder of the Society of Jesus;” Peter Faber, Apostle of Germany, and Co-Founder of the Society of Jesus; Alphonsus Rodriguez, Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother; and Peter Claver, “Apostle to the Negroes”
  • Lucy Jane Rider Meyer, Novelist, Hymn Writer, Medical Doctor, and Founder of the Deaconess Movement in the Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Sarah Mapps Douglass, U.S. African-American Quaker Abolitionist, Writer, Painter, and Lecturer
  • William Chatterton Dix, English Hymn Writer and Hymn Translator

10 (Alexander Crummell, U.S. African-American Episcopal Priest, Missionary, and Moral Philosopher)

  • Lynn Harold Hough, U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • Mordecai Johnson, Educator
  • Nemesian of Sigum and His Companions, Roman Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 257
  • Salvius of Albi, Roman Catholic Bishop

11 (Paphnutius the Great, Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Thebaid)

  • Anne Houlditch Shepherd, Anglican Novelist and Hymn Writer
  • Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in China, 1840
  • John Stainer and Walter Galpin Alcock, Anglican Church Organists and Composers
  • Patiens of Lyons, Roman Catholic Archbishop

12 (Kaspar Bienemann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Ernest Edwin Ryder, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Hymnal Editor
  • Franciscus Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan, Korean Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1839; Lawrence Mary Joseph Imbert, Pierre Philibert Maubant, and Jacques Honoré Chastán, French Roman Catholic Priests, Missionaries to Korea, and Martyrs, 1839; Paul Chong Hasang, Korean Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr, 1839; and Cecilia Yu Sosa and Jung Hye, Korean Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1839
  • William Josiah Irons, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and his daughter, Genevieve Mary Irons, Roman Catholic Hymn Writer

13 (Peter of Chelcic, Bohemian Hussite Reformer; and Gregory the Patriarch, Founder of the Moravian Church)

  • Frederick J. Murphy, U.S. Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar
  • Godfrey Thring, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Jane Crewdson, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Narayan Seshadri of Jalna, Indian Presbyterian Evangelist and “Apostle to the Mangs”
  • Robert Guy McCutchan, U.S. Methodist Hymnal Editor and Hymn Tune Composer


15 (Martyrs of Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963)

  • Charles Edward Oakley, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • George Henry Trabert, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator and Author
  • James Chisholm, Episcopal Priest
  • Philibert and Aicardus of Jumieges, Roman Catholic Abbots

16 (Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop and Martyr, 258; and Cornelius, Lucius I, and Stephen I, Bishops of Rome)

  • James Francis Carney, U.S.-Honduran Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, Revolutionary, and Martyr, 1983
  • Martin Behm, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

17 (Jutta of Disibodenberg, Roman Catholic Abbess; and her student, Hildegard of Bingen, Roman Catholic Abbess and Composer)

  • Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Titutlar Bishop of Tarsus, and Founder of Recovery for the Poor and the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary
  • Zygmunt Sajna, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

18 (Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations)

  • Amos Niven Wilder, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, Literary Critic, and Biblical Scholar
  • Edward Bouverie Pusey, Anglican Priest
  • Henry Lascelles Jenner, Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Henry Wellington Greatorex, Anglican and Episcopal Organist, Choirmaster, and Hymnodist
  • John Campbell Shairp, Scottish Poet and Educator

19 (Gerard Moultrie, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns)

  • Clarence Alphonsus Walworth, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer; Co-Founder of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle (the Paulist Fathers)
  • Emily de Rodat, Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Villefranche
  • Walter Chalmers Smith, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York and Hymn Writer

20 (Henri Nouwen, Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Writer)

  • Elizabeth Kenny, Australian Nurse and Medical Pioneer
  • John Coleridge Patteson, Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1871
  • Marie Therese of Saint Joseph, Founder of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
  • Nelson Wesley Trout, First African-American U.S. Lutheran Bishop


22 (Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and of Illinois; and Presiding Bishop)

  • C. H. Dodd, Welsh Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, and Emily Elliott, Anglican Hymn Writers
  • Justus Falckner, Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Stephen G. Cary, U.S. Quaker Humanitarian and Antiwar Activist

23 (Francisco de Paula Victor, Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest)

  • Churchill Julius, Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, and Primate and Archbishop of New Zealand
  • Émelie Tavernier Gamelin, Founder of the Sisters of Providence
  • Jozef Stanek, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944

24 (Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, African-American Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia, and Educator)

  • Henry Hart Milman, Anglican Dean, Translator, Historian, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • Juvenal of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Martyr in Alaska, and First Orthodox Martyr in the Americas, 1796
  • Peter the Aleut, Russian Orthodox Martyr in San Francisco, 1815
  • Silouan of Mount Athos, Eastern Orthodox Monk and Poet

25 (Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, African-American Educator; her sister, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, African-American Dentist; and their brother, Hubert Thomas Delany, African-American Attorney, Judge, and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Bernhard W. Anderson, U.S. United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Euphrosyne and her father, Paphnutius of Alexandria, Monks
  • Herman of Reichenau, Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar
  • Judith Lomax, Episcopal Mystic and Poet
  • Sergius of Radonezh, Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Sergiyev Posad, Russia

26 (Paul VI, Bishop of Rome)

  • Frederick William Faber, English Roman Catholic Hymn Writer
  • John Bright, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • John Byrom, Anglican then Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph A. Sittler, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Ecumenist
  • Lancelot Andrewes, Anglican Bishop of Chichester then of Ely then of Winchester

27 (Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva; Vincent de Paul, “The Apostle of Charity;’ Louise de Marillac, Co-Founder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul; and Charles Fuge Lowder, Founder of the Society of the Holy Cross)

  • Edward McGlynn, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Social Reformer, and Alleged Heretic
  • Eliza Scudder, U.S. Unitarian then Episcopalian Hymn Writer
  • Joanna P. Moore, U.S. Baptist Missionary and Educator
  • Martyrs of Melanesia, 1864-2003
  • Thomas Traherne, Anglican Priest, Poet, and Spiritual Writer

28 (Jehu Jones, Jr., African-American Lutheran Minister)

  • Francis Turner Palgrave, Anglican Poet, Art Critic, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Hoskins, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Lorenzo Ruiz and His Companions, Roman Catholic Missionaries and Martyrs in Japan, 1637


30 (Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury)

  • Mary Ramabai, Prophetic Witness and Evangelist in India
  • Richard Challoner, English Roman Catholic Scholar, Religious Writer, Translator, Controversialist, Priest, and Titular Bishop of Doberus


  • Labor Day


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.